cardiac rehab started yesterday. more active this week
Journal posted on March 23, 2012
I went to cardiac rehab for the initial evaluation yesterday. My girlfriend who's been out of town since I got home from the hospital was back and offered to take me. We went out for lunch first. It was a real treat to get out of the house. She came in for tea and more talking when we got back. It ended up being a very busy day as my husband came home from Wisconsin a day early. I had a hard time getting to sleep. I would have thought I would be so tired out it would be easy, but I suppose I had adrenaline or something that needed to work its way out.
Today I spent the morning taking it easy but spent the afternoon and evening with Momma. We took my brother (the one with stage 4 cancer) to one of his doctor visits and did a little walking and a little knitting while we waited for him. After dropping him off we went shopping at a quilt store and a bakery before heading back to her place to play with more fabric and have supper. We'll see if I have more trouble sleeping tonight or not. Right now I'm tired but not exhausted. My back is starting to hurt. I hope an ice pack will take care of that. I'[m going to try again to sleep in bed. Last night I gave up because I was wide awake and didn't want to keep my husband awake. He was worn out. I still had trouble in the recliner, so I don't think the bed was the problem. I could take an Oxy to help me sleep but I would rather not. I don't like the side effects.
My son is being much more helpful this week. My Momma had a gentle talk with him late last week to explain that he needs to come check on me every hour and ask me what I need. Plus he's trying to get up earlier ( by 10 or 11). He still can't or won't do everything I need, so I'm hoping to get some Home Health Care lined up.
I developed a dry cough Sunday evening, which, of course, hurts my sternum. I'm trying to deal with it with DM cough syrup, throat lozenges, lots of ice water sips. I saw my PCP today to check my INR and he said I need to keep doing my spirometer. My lungs are probably partly deflated and that's likely what causes the cough. I did slack off over the weekend so it makes sense. When the cough developed I quit doing the spirometer altogether because I thought it would aggravate it.
Recovery progressing well with limited assistance (day10 pos
Journal posted on March 15, 2012
My husband had to return to work out-of-state on Sunday night. We have a 20yo son (with Asperger's) who lives at home and is supposed to be helping me while finishing high school online. He tries, but I have to ask him for each thing I need. He occasionally will spontaneously think of something nice to do for me (usually fix me food), but he still hasn't grasped the concepts of a healthy diet, especially for a diabetic, so it's usually a mixed blessing. I'm not good at asking directly for things, especially for myself, so I miss opportunities. For instance, my Momma came over Sunday night and prepped a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables so it would be easier for me to eat healthy food. I have told Tom this more than once, but that isn't enough. It works best if I ask him to get me something specific, but I forget and say "It would be nice if I had some fresh vegetables to eat with this sandwich." It's how I was raised, I guess. My mom always dropped hints that I was supposed to figure out and interpret as commands. Tom, bless his heart, just doesn't get it. It's teaching me to be more direct, which is a more honest form of communication. Anyway, I find I can do most things for myself, I just need to pace myself and rest whenever I tire.
I also need to work on saying "no" to protect myself. With my son and his friends being around 20, there's always some drama of the moment and I have to avoid getting sucked into it. The problem is that he doesn't have a grasp of what is not appropriate to ask of me when I am recovering from major surgery, and so when he asks something I am taken off guard and hate to say no. I mistakenly assume he knows this is a lot to ask and has checked out all other options. Plus I know from lots of past experience, it can be incredibly difficult to get him to drop a request, so I sometimes just don't try, if I'm already tired. Or he'll decide to go out for the evening instead of staying here to be available if I need him. I hate to be demanding, so I don't object. Obviously, part of taking care of myself is going to be learning to ask for what I need directly, saying "no" to requests and countermanding some of his independent decisions that should be checked with me. Wish me luck!
Had the wires removed to the heart in case a pacemaker was needed to be hooked up to regulate the heart beat. The neck IV was also removed from the neck. Down to just the the back-up IV in the back the hand. Made it out for her first walk this morning. (Ron)
angiogram complete, good news - no CABG needed, surgery Mon.
Journal posted on March 1, 2012
I just got home from the hospital a few hours ago. Tuesday I was feeling especially poorly all day and on the bus on the way home called my clinic. The nurse and I decided the best thing to do was go to the ER and get checked out. A friend met me at home and took me up to the local hospital. (We had plans with a mutual friend to go out that night since it was my wedding anniversary but my husband works out of town so we couldn't be together.) Once they heard I had severe stenosis of the aortic valve and was supposed to have an angiogram in a few days, they took my symptoms very seriously and sent me to St, Joe's, where I was planning to have the surgery. The angiogram took place yesterday afternoon and by then I had met my surgeon, who impressed me in many ways, especially his appreciation of my knowledge and questions. He was hoping to squeeze me in on Friday, so they kept me overnight. Late this morning we finally heard the OR wouldn't be available for the second surgical shift tomorrow, so they sent me home until early Monday. It's kind of nice to have a couple of days to get ready but not have to wait the 2 weeks to a month I thought I would wait.
The angiogram was not difficult, although the doctor said he was having a lot of trouble finding my right coronary artery. Apparently the left one was large and easy to find so the right one was small to balance things out! The best part was hearing that my arteries look good and I do not need bypass with my AVR.
On Feb. 22, 2012, I had a followup visit with my cardiologist, Dr. L. He had already reviewed the echocardiogram done 2 weeks earlier and soon got right to the point. It's time for surgery. He mentioned something about my gradient being high, but at the time I had no clue what he was talking about. I was not only not surprised, but actually relieved. I told him about the frequent angina and near constant fatigue. He did not seem surprised. He was a little surprised when I told him I had been experiencing angina at the time of my previous check up 3 months ago, but hesitated to say anything because I wasn't sure if that's what it was. Dr. L told me that my aortic valve stenosis (narrowing) has become severe instead of moderate. To give me a mental picture, he said that, where a normal person's aortic valve opening is around 3.5 sq. cm, mine is about 0.6 sq. cm. I did some research since and found that 0.6 is actually the cut off between severe and critical. We talked for a bit about what would happen next and what to expect. We finished on a positive note when he assured me that in a few months I would be feeling much better and be able to exercise and lose the weight I want to lose.
Dr. L. told me that the next step is to undergo an angiogram to get a detailed picture before surgery, measure the actual pressure difference (or gradient) and related information and to see if there are any blocked arteries that need bypass surgery. If there are, that would be done at the same time as the valve replacement. Gee, 2 for 1! He won't be performing the angiogram or the surgery. His colleagues will.
I then spent some time talking to his nurse and getting information about the angiogram and a little about the surgery. I will have the angiogram Friday at St. Joe's hospital in downtown St. Paul. If I understood right, I will get to meet their cardiac surgeons and tour the cardiac facility after the procedure. I can schedule the surgery right away if I'm ready. I have the option of going to a different hospital, of course, but I am very tempted to stay in the HealthEast system after my negative experience last year in a different system, largely due to the difficulty of transferring records accurately.
The angiogram is low-risk. I will have to be very quiet for 3 days afterwards, so it is a good thing I scheduled it for a Friday. I will only miss one day of work. Ron will come home Thursday night to be with me. I hope to be up to going to church on Sunday, but don't know if that's realistic. I am going to go to my youngest brother's birthday party Sunday evening, but probably won't stay long.
I am open to suggestions on hospitals and cardiac surgeons in the Twin Cities. (Except Abbot Northwestern - I won't go there.)